volleyball team got out to a fast start Friday night in Milwaukee,
Wis., taking the opening set, but Milwaukee won each of the
final three frames for a 3-1 (17-25, 25-12, 25-19, 25-22) victory over the
The Crusaders were
playing without normal starting outside hitter Katie Britton (Mishawaka,
Ind./Marian) on Friday night, who
was out due to illness.
“I am proud of the fact
we came out and played as hard as we did despite being shorthanded tonight, without Katie and with a number of other players under the weather as well,”
said Crusader head coach Carin Avery. “But coming in, we knew Milwaukee was strong defensively and tried to
set the tone with their defense, and that’s exactly what they did. They out-blocked us by a lot and also out-dug
us, and you’re not going to win a lot of matches getting beat in those two
categories and hitting at a low percentage.”
Valpo stormed out of the
gate in the opening frame, jumping out to a 8-1 lead on the strength of three
kills by Tara Diebler (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central), two kills from Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) and a kill by Kim Bukowski (Waukesha, Wis./West). The Crusaders forced the Panthers to use both
of their timeouts during the opening spurt and were never really threatened the
rest of the way. Milwaukee did close to
within 21-16, but a 4-1 spurt with kills by Porché, Jenny Pokorny (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) and Mary Dent (Long Grove, Ill./Von Steuben) and a solo rejection by
Diebler closed the set in Valpo’s favor.
The second set went the
Crusaders’ way in the early going, as Valpo got out to a 6-4 advantage, but Milwaukee would roll from
there, scoring 21 of the set’s final 27 points.
A 7-0 run gave the Panthers the lead for good, and with the Crusaders
still within five at 17-12, UWM ended the set on an 8-0 spurt to enter
intermission tied at a set apiece.
The Panthers led start to
finish in the third set, but the Crusaders did not let them pull ahead by much,
sticking close for much of the frame. A
four-point Milwaukee advantage at 18-14 became just one at 19-18 thanks to a
quick 4-1 spurt, including two terminations by Diebler and one from Dent, but
after the teams traded sideouts, Milwaukee rattled off the last five points of
The fourth set featured
multiple runs by both sides. Milwaukee jumped out to a
7-2 lead, but the Crusaders answered with a 5-2 spurt to close to 9-7. The Panthers responded with a 5-2 spurt of
its own to re-establish the five-point advantage, but this time Valpo put
together a 7-2 run, including three blocks and a kill by Katie Layman (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) to tie things up at
16. But Milwaukee would score the next three points
to take the lead for good, and while the Crusaders closed to within one point
on multiple occasions, they could not pull into a tie as the Panthers completed
Diebler had a big match
on the offensive side of the ball for Valpo, putting down a career-best 20
kills while swinging at a .326 clip, but Porché was the only other Crusader to
finish in double figures, posting 12 kills. Porché surpassed 2,000 career kills on the night and holds the career record in the category by over 500 kills.
Bukowski handed out a match-high 46 assists on the evening, while Taylor Root (Jenison,
led all players with 19 digs.
was flat-out awesome up front tonight,” said Avery. “She got kills for us every time we needed
them. It was easily the best match of
Milwaukee (12-14, 9-6 Horizon) put fourplayers in double
figures in kills, including a trio with 12 apiece. Maddie Sueppel hit .423 with 12 kills for the
Panthers, while Natalie Schmitting posted ten kills and nine blocks, as Milwaukee came up with 16
total team blocks on the evening.
Valparaiso (21-9, 11-4 Horizon) maintained a one-game
advantage for second place in the
league standings, as Butler
also lost on Friday. The Crusaders can
clinch second place in the league and the corresponding bye into the Horizon
League Championship semifinals with a victory Saturday at Green Bay.
First serve is set for 4 p.m., and all the action can be heard live on
WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso
and seen online on the Horizon League Network. Links for both the audio
and video will be available through www.valpoathletics.com,
which will also have a link for live stats.